In late 2016, EYElliance co-founders, Liz Smith and Dr. Jordan Kassalow, met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and presented her with an opportunity to leverage the impact of her recent investment in tertiary eye care by expanding on those services to include improved access to eyeglasses.
Following this initial meeting, President Sirleaf requested that EYElliance convene a delegation of INGOs that have established best practices within their area of expertise to advise the government on a comprehensive eye health strategy.
The result of the ensuing convening was a joint commitment to create a continuum of care that includes a national school eye health initiative and a referral network driven by the engagement of Liberia’s 4,000 community health workers.
Working closely with the Ministries of Health and Education, EYElliance has executed a MOU between the Government of Liberia and EYElliance members: Sightsavers, LV Prasad Eye Institute, OneSight, Our Children’s Vision, Essilor’s 2.5 New Vision Generation, and New Sight Eye Center (Liberian NGO) outlining the establishment of a comprehensive eye health network connecting patients to quality eye care at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
Once operating at scale, this government-led initiative will be screening 1 million primary and secondary school students for vision problems annually and providing a pair of glasses to those who need them, and reaching 1.2 Million Liberians living in remote communities far away from existing health care with basic vision care.